This article in Guardian Technolgy suggests the day may be drawing closer when mapping and hydrographic data is free in the UK.
It says a study, published alongside last week's budget, considered the government's six largest 'trading funds', which sell their products and services to public and private sectors. they are, the Met Office, Ordnance Survey, UK Hydrographic Office, land registry of England & Wales, Companies House and the Driver and Vehicle Licenseing Agency.
The full 154page report is a clearly argued case for making raw data available free. The case for pricing basic data at no more than the marginal cost of a copy (digital=0 cost) is "strong".
Free OS maps ahead?